Although it was April Fool’s Day, this event was no wind-up! In order to try out our new Race Timing equipment, MERCC members were invited to take part in a ‘Trial’ race meeting with no charge for racing and no trophies – just the satisfaction of knowing that participants were helping the Club to become familiar with 21st Century gear! A mixture of Electric and Nitro cars were in evidence, with 27 drivers keen to start racing. It was made clear at the briefing that drivers should not take the results too seriously and that they would need to bear with us while we ‘tweaked’ the system.
The morning started off somewhat chilly but the sun soon appeared and dried out what dew there was on a track prepared for the occasion by ‘Gentleman Jim’ Shepherd. Working Parties during March had worked hard to get everything ready for the season and the 20kg of grass seed and 2 tonnes of topsoil put down early in November had produced a nice ‘green’ track. The willing volunteers who set out a great track design made full use of the track area and the portable ‘Crossover’ feature was included.
All the equipment was connected up as per instructions and we all said a prayer and crossed our fingers as Yours Truly pressed the button to start the first race. This had to be stopped immediately as a warning appeared on the screen referring to a vital code that had not been entered! Once one of our computer geeks had identified this, we were again ready for the ‘off’. My main concern was “would the Personal Transponders be recognised?” My fears were soon allayed as the screen soon showed that they were being picked up and the timing system was functioning perfectly!
We ran 4 rounds of heats and finals, and at the end of the meeting were able to congratulate ourselves on a very successful day. I personally am very grateful to all the drivers for being prepared to be used as Guinea Pigs for the ultimate benefit of everyone in the future. MERCC now has a system which caters for Personal Transponders and Manual Lap Counting and a very willing membership who are happy to help out in many ways. I am also grateful to those who gave me helpful advice and suggestions throughout the day. Yes, there were teething problems, but these were relatively minor and we can work on these. Much was learnt on the day, the weather was brilliant, and everyone went away happy – especially me!
I’m pleased to say that MERCC already has 40 paid-up members, with more expected, so this year is going to be a busy one! On Sunday 15th April there will be the traditional Seasonal Warm-Up ‘Open’ Meeting at Braxted – be there!